Vegan Lemon Poppy Seed Cake with Creamy Lemon Buttercream: A Zesty, Moist Delight

Vegan Lemon Poppy Seed Cake with Creamy Lemon Buttercream: A Zesty, Moist Delight

This Vegan Lemon Poppy Seed Cake is a dream come true for anyone who loves the vibrant taste of lemon combined with the unique crunch of poppy seeds. Infused with lemon zest and lemon extract, this cake features intense lemon flavor perfectly balanced with the sweetness of creamy lemon buttercream. The secret to its soft, chewy texture is the innovative use of whipped chickpea brine (aquafaba), which adds lightness without using eggs. This cake is not only a delight for the taste buds, but also a visually appealing treat, ideal for those following a vegan lifestyle or anyone looking for a dairy-free dessert option.


Why you'll love it: The moist texture and tangy flavor make this cake stand out. It's incredibly moist, thanks to the use of vegan butter and coconut milk, which ensure the crumb stays tender and rich. The poppy seeds add a slight crunch to each bite, enhancing the texture of the cake. The lemon buttercream frosting adds a layer of luscious sweetness that perfectly complements the tart lemon cake. This cake is a testament to how delicious vegan baking can be, offering a guilt-free way to enjoy a decadent dessert.

Perfect occasion: This vegan lemon poppy seed cake is perfect for a variety of occasions. Serve it at spring and summer gatherings, such as picnics, garden parties or bachelorette parties, where a light and refreshing cake will be appreciated. It's also a great choice for birthdays and holiday meals, especially for those who enjoy a less traditional cake flavor. Plus, it's a wonderful treat for afternoon tea, offering a bright burst of lemon to accompany your favorite cup of tea.

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Decorating Tips:

  • Garnish the cake with slices of lemon and a sprinkle of poppy seeds before serving for an elegant citrus garnish.
  • If you're using vegan lemon curd, swirl it over the buttercream for a bright, sunny look that hints at the flavors inside.
  • Edible flowers, like pansies or marigolds, can add a touch of spring beauty to the cake, making it even more special for festive occasions.
  • Sprinkle the top with a little powdered sugar for subtle sweetness and a sophisticated finish.


  • Lemon cake:
    • 1 cup of vegetable milk
    • 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar
    • 1 can of chickpeas (brine used for aquafaba)
    • 1 ¼ cup granulated sugar
    • 2 tablespoons lemon zest
    • ¾ cup vegan butter at room temperature
    • ¼ cup whole coconut milk
    • 1.5 teaspoons of lemon extract
    • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
    • 2 ¾ cups cake flour
    • 2 ½ teaspoons baking powder
    • ½ teaspoon baking soda
    • ½ teaspoon of salt
    • 2 tablespoons of poppy seeds
  • Lemon Buttercream:
    • 1/2 cup vegan butter at room temperature
    • The zest of 1 lemon
    • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
    • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
    • 2 cups powdered sugar

(Optional) Vegan Lemon Cream


  1. Prepare the cake batter:
    • Preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C). Butter and line an 8×8-inch baking dish.
    • Mix milk and apple cider vinegar; let sit for 5 minutes to create a “buttermilk.”
    • Whisk the chickpea brine until smooth and glossy. Cream the lemon zest and sugar, then stir in the vegan butter, “buttermilk”, coconut milk and extracts. Stir in 1/2 cup aquafaba.
    • Gently fold in the dry ingredients and poppy seeds until just combined. Pour into prepared pan.
  2. Cook and cool:
    • Bake for 27 to 30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes, then invert onto a wire rack to cool completely.
  3. Prepare the lemon buttercream:
    • Whisk the butter with the lemon zest, vanilla and salt. Gradually add the powdered sugar until you get a creamy consistency.
  4. Assembly:
    • Frost cooled cake with lemon buttercream. Optionally add vegan lemon curd on top. Slice and serve.

Enjoy this vibrant and delicious Vegan Lemon Poppy Seed Cake, a perfect treat that combines the freshness of lemon with the richness of a classic dessert, all without any animal products!

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